The city of Durham has grown to prominence over the years thanks in large part to its status as the birth place of the tobacco industry. Durham North Carolina is located just 20 miles to the west of Raleigh, its much larger neighbor, and Raleigh Durham travel is quite a common occurrence. The city of Durham is home to Duke University, one of the most prominent universities in the United States, and the many historical sites to see in Durham make it a great place to vacation.
The history of Durham North Carolina has mostly been formed around the farmer Washington Duke, who started the first tobacco and cigarette production line in the United States in the mid 19th century. The family quickly became wealthy, and from the economy and industry of the tobacco plants, the city of Durham grew up to be one of North Carolina's most prominent cities.
Today, Durham North Carolina is known for Duke University more than it is known for tobacco. For travelers taking a vacation to the city of Durham or combining Raleigh Durham travel, the downtown area is a great place to start sight-seeing. The Museum of Life and Science is a favorite touring activity. Live animals and plants greet families who visit this museum, and a separate butterfly house continues to delight children year after year. Snakes, owls, alligators, and woodchuck are just a few of the animals found in this museum. Durham transit makes a stop just two blocks from this museum.
Many Raleigh Durham travelers also make a point of seeing the famous Duke Chapel, yet another stop along the handy Durham transit. The chapel is built in a neo-gothic style with an enormous bell tower, multiple stained glass windows, and a huge pipe organ. You can visit the chapel for free each weekday between 12:30pm and 1:30pm (the organ will be playing) or at 5pm until 5:30 pm (the bells will be playing). While you're taking Durham transit to the University, you may also want to stop by the Nasher Museum of Art, which is also located on campus. With nine permanent collections and a nice selection of traveling exhibits, this is one of the nicest art museums in North Carolina.
If you feel like stretching your legs and enjoying some of Durham's outdoor delights, try heading over to the Eno River State Park, located in west Durham. The state park is open for canoeing, hiking, picnicking and even camping. You can also fish in the waters with a valid North Carolina fishing permit. There are no park entrance fees (though you will have to pay to camp), so feel free to come and enjoy this great state park totally free of charge.
Image: Chip Henderson and Durham CVB